Courts

Inmate’s negligence suit may continue, court rules

December 11, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ordered more proceedings on a negligence lawsuit filed by an Indiana Department of Correction inmate after he fell and injured himself. In the decision, the judges also decided that prison operators are subject to liability in much the same manner as other private actors.
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Jury should decide whether Duke Realty intended to get law partner fired

December 11, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
There are genuine issues of material fact as to whether Duke Realty, involved in a dispute over a land agreement with a Parr Richey Obremskey & Morton partner, intentionally induced the firm to terminate Carol Sparks Drake’s partnership agreement and whether that interference was justified, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.
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Man entitled to homestead deduction on Fountain County property

December 11, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Tax Court Tuesday reversed the determination that a man could not receive the homestead standard deduction on his Fountain County property because the decision is unsupported by evidence. The Indiana Board of Tax Review’s conclusion that the property was not Roderick Kellam’s principal place of residence was contrary to law. 
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Justices take 3 cases

December 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer to three cases last week, including a lawsuit filed by parents after their severely disabled daughter died at school as a result of choking on food.
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COA: Insurer has no liability for dog bite injuries

December 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld summary judgment in favor of Auto-Owners Insurance Co. on the issue of whether it had liability to cover the damages sought by the parents of a boy bit by a dog on the insured’s property. The person residing at the home, whose dog bit the boy, was not considered an insured under the policy.
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New commission on children executive committee includes justice, DCS head

December 10, 2013
IL Staff
The Commission on Improving the Status of Children, created during the 2013 legislative session, announced its executive committee Tuesday. The committee includes Indiana Justice Loretta Rush, who also serves as commission chair.
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Property tax assessment prevents township from controlling cemetery

December 9, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Because a couple had paid taxes on the land where a cemetery existed since 1967, the township did not have authority under Indiana law to exercise control over that cemetery, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed Monday.
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24 more school corps join IRS lawsuit on employer mandate

December 9, 2013
IL Staff
Twenty-four additional school corporations have joined the lawsuit filed in October by the state of Indiana and 15 school corporations against the Internal Revenue Service challenging the tax penalties that could be imposed in 2015 under the “employer mandate” of the Affordable Care Act.
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Juvenile Detention Alternatives adds 11 counties

December 9, 2013
IL Staff
Eleven counties have joined the original eight participating in Indiana’s Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, the Indiana Supreme Court announced Monday. The expansion will extend JDAI services to 56 percent of juveniles from 10 to 17 years old.
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Indiana among states wanting SCOTUS to clear the air on pollution standard

December 9, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A coalition of 14 states, including Indiana, are headed to the Supreme Court of the United States Dec. 10 to argue that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has overstepped its authority, again, in trying to regulate air pollution in upwind states.
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Brother in Holiday World dispute still fighting for ownership

December 6, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
The family battle over the southern Indiana amusement park, Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari, could be moving to the Indiana Supreme Court.
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State didn’t prove woman took drug while on probation

December 6, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the revocation of a Sullivan County woman’s probation, finding the state didn’t demonstrate that Michelle Orr Carpenter took a barbiturate while on probation.
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COA: Bank lacks standing to appeal trust terminations

December 5, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Old National Bancorp cannot appeal the termination of two trusts it served as a representative of, either in the representative capacity or on an individual capacity, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Thursday. As such, the court dismissed the appeal.
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Ex-wife allowed to enter QDRO 20 years after divorce

December 5, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
In a matter of first impression regarding when a qualified domestic relations order must be filed, the Indiana Court of Appeals held that a woman who waited 20 years after her divorce to have her ex-husband sign a QDRO for division of his pension may still be able to submit it.
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Policy provisions preclude coverage in settlement of class claims

December 5, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Because the “voluntary payment” and “legally obligated to pay” provisions precluded coverage, a trial court properly entered partial judgment in favor of an insurer of a distillery involved in a settlement over damages caused to nearby buildings by the distillation process.
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Child Support Court being reopened in Gary

December 4, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Although an appeal is pending in the Indiana Court of Appeals, the child support court that had been consolidated to Crown Point in early 2013 is moving back to Gary.
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Government may appeal Conour’s 10-year sentence

December 4, 2013
Dave Stafford
Federal prosecutors who argued for tougher punishment may appeal the 10-year sentence imposed in October for former attorney William Conour who pleaded guilty to a single count of wire fraud.
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Husband can’t recover insurance proceeds after wife burns down house

December 4, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday held that when an insurance company includes an explicit exclusion in its policy to cover loss resulting from an intentional act by a co-insured, the court will enforce that exclusion. Because a man’s policy included such an exclusion, he can’t recover insurance proceeds after his wife burnt down their home on purpose.
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Christie elected to Judicial Nominating Commission

December 4, 2013
Dave Stafford
Lawyers have elected Indianapolis attorney Lee Christie to the Judicial Nominating Commission.
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State, IBM contest $62 million award for canceled welfare contract

December 4, 2013
Dave Stafford
Indiana Court of Appeals judges spent the better part of a 90-minute oral argument Nov. 25 focused on whether a trial judge’s order applied the proper legal standards in awarding $62 million to IBM after the state canceled its $1.3 billion contract to overhaul Indiana’s welfare administration.
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Kraft wins in food fight with Cracker Barrel

December 4, 2013
Dave Stafford
A federal appeals court ruled recently that savvy consumers might be confused if food branded Cracker Barrel Old Country Store was sold in grocery stores that carry Kraft’s Cracker Barrel brand cheese. Turns out even a law professor who teaches a course on trademarks and unfair competition might be fooled.
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Judge finds Google's book project 'transformative'

December 4, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Attorneys differ on whether the recent ruling benefits society or opens the door for infringement.
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Indiana Judges Association: 'You can't eat the Constitution'

December 4, 2013
David Dreyer
Like most judges, Shay Minton’s achievements were numerous, but largely unmeasured.
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Notre Dame refiles suit against Obamacare ‘contraception mandate’

December 3, 2013
IL Staff
The University of Notre Dame has refiled a federal lawsuit seeking to block enforcement of the so-called contraception mandate included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
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Denial of SSI reversed for failure to consider mental health

December 3, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A woman who claimed disability in part because of her diminished mental health will get another chance to present her case after the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found the administrative law judge did not properly consider the opinions and testimony regarding the woman’s mental condition.
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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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